Welcome to this week's Little Gems post! I've had a lovely week this week. Been busy, but I felt like I've been quite productive too. I'm also still working on adjusting my work life balance. I did a post on Wednesday about how we all seem to put so much pressure on ourselves (me included especially!) and I'm trying not to! So, on the days that I'm working... I work! The days that I'm meant to be off... I'm off! I feel it's worked out quite well and I'm starting to feel a little more like me again - even though I feel a bit lazy when I'm not sat in front a computer or a client - I'm getting there!
Here are my foodie inspirational pics for the week. Hope you find them useful :)
Teriyaki & Miso Soup with Vermicelli
Now the weather is getting a little colder, I find it's nice to bring back the soups and stews again. As much as I love these types of meals, in the Summer you just end up like a 'hot mess' when you've had soup at lunch! This was perfect for a dull and rainy Monday... warming and full of goodness. Expect to see a lot more of these over the next few months!
Gluten & Dairy Free Matcha Cake
Nigella Lawson is my idol! I LOVE her recipes and I love to tweak them to suit my tastes and lifestyle choices too. This matcha cake is ah-mazing! It's light as a feather and yet tastes rather sumptuous! With it being gluten free it's so light too. I always tend to opt for gluten free flour instead to make my cakes not so 'stodgy' and heavy. Definitely will be making this again! I used coconut oil instead of butter and coconut sugar instead of caster sugar.
Rocket, Quinoa, Artichoke and Avocado Salad
I'm loving cooking my lunches again at work. This salad was packed full of flavour and yet so easy (and very lazy) to make! I bought a pre made salad from M & S and just made it sparkle a little bit. Any kind of pre-packed salad is great to add things to, to make your plate more filling.
'Green' Truffle Buckwheat Pasta
Needed some of this in my life. Can't have a week go by without it actually. This time, I just used truffle oil as a dressing and a squeeze of lemon juice. Plus kind of obsessed with this vegan parmesan too from Sainsbury's. It's a little sweet as it's made from coconut cream, but does still have that cheesy flavour that I need with truffle.
When you get a gift from your parcel company, it's a sign you buy too much stuff!
The Great North Pie Co | Altrincham Market
Cheese & Onion Pie with Mushy Peas, Mash Potato & Gravy
Wednesday night was comfort food night! I met Miss Princess Pilates for a tasty dinner and I was literally dreaming of this all afternoon. My plan was a healthy sushi rice bowl, then this crossed my mind. These pies are amazing... however you need some kind of medal if you can finish one! With the mash and gravy too... wowsers! Bring on the indigestion!!!
Chocolate Smoothie Bowl with Superfoods
I adore my yoga classes on a Thursday morning with The Yoga Kula. I do find myself laying in my savasana thinking about breakfast though! This just came to me, I wanted a smoothie bowl but fancied something different, then I thought... Chocolate! I made this with a frozen banana, frozen mango and half an avocado. I also used almond milk as a base and then added a couple of spoons of raw cacao powder. There is something about the combination of chocolate and raspberries that is delicious.
The Green House | Oxford Road, Altrincham
Plate of Mixed Salads
Friday post yoga I took myself to my happy place... The Green House in Altrincham. Standard plate of mixed salads = huge amount of happiness!
Hmmm... this was also lunch on Friday! We will call it a late one though! Princess and I ventured out to try the new Laughing Elephant on Hale Road. This place is sooooo cute!
To be honest, the cafe before (Cafe Smithy) didn't really 'float my boat' should I say, this though is soo lovely! They focus on fresh ingredients and you could tell. The food was really good and so was the company ;)
How nice is the outdoor area! Come back Summer!
The Laughing Elephant Cafe | Hale Road, Hale Barns (Check out the menu here)
(top) Fish cakes (daily special I think), Sweet Potato Fries with Parmesan
Fish Finger Ciabatta - Battered Hake Goujons, Tartare Sauce & Lettuce
The fish goujons were so so fresh. Not mushy or cheap, you can tell the fish was good quality. Yum yum yum! You must check out this little place, such cute decor too. Great little lunch spot if you fancy somewhere different that the usual places. I will defo be back!
Everything Free Breakfast Pancakes
After a heavy night of family food on Friday, Saturday morning called for something much lighter - that doesn't mean it should be tasteless though! I was having a play with a new recipe for pancakes and they turned out really nice. These are gluten, dairy, sugar and also fat free pancakes. Super lightweight and the Coyo Yoghurt worked perfectly with the raspberries.
The Village Cafe | Hale Village (check out the menu here)
(top) Full English Veggie Breakfast
Chicken Baguette with Fries
Jacket Potato with Cheese & Beans
Lunch was a bit heavier might I add! We met some friends at The Village Cafe in Hale and had a tasty brunch. I have not had a jacket potato in months and months! I always forget how much I love them too! Plus, I can't have it without cheese... I just can't!
Completely forgot to ask for the beans on top so the cheese melts! Dammit!
Grafene | Kings Street, Manchester
(top) TORCHED MACKEREL, PARFAIT, PLUM, PONZU
BEETROOT, GOAT’S CURD, HAZELNUT, GAZPACHO
So saturday night hubby and I celebrated 14 years together! I can't believe how fast the time has flown! I was treated to a lovely meal out to Grafene on King Street - which I have been dying to go to for ages!
To be honest I'm not going to do a full 'Eating Out' post on this place but I will do a mini one here. This is going to sound like proper 'first world problems', but we were a little disappointed to be honest. The food was okay, actually the starters were lovely but the mains were very mediocre. Hubs had a sirloin and potatoes and I had the pasta and root vegetables. The pasta just tasted similar to something out of a packet. No where near as good as San Carlo or Piccolinos for example and yet it was meant to be a fine dining style place. They usually blow me away with the fanciness of it all.
(top) SALT AGED SIRLOIN 280G (the biggest Sirloin steak ever!)
PAN FRIED NEW POTATOES & MINT BUTTER
SWEETCORN AGNOLOTTI, SAUCE, PICKLED, CHARRED, SHOOTS
If I'm going to be really honest... the service was a bit pants! Kind of like your standard restaurant - which is fine if I'm expecting it, but not at a fine dining restaurant. The tables were not wiped after each course, the staff (although relatively friendly) didn't know much about the ingredients, nobody told us what we were eating when it was put on the table etc etc. You know, all that extra fancy pants stuff you get at a fine dining restaurant. Hubs was talking to a friend about it and what he said was so true, if the food is good but the service is not, there is a good chance you won't be going back. However, if you have semi good food but great service you will usually give it another chance.
BAKED MANGO CREAM, COCONUT, YUZU, CORIANDER, PUFFED RICE
So, by this point I was pretty full. We decided to share a dessert, but when it came I struggled to eat it. On the picture above it's not so bad, but up close these little rice puffs looked like maggots! Like actual maggots!!! I could not even look at it... how gross! We eat with our eyes don't we...? Don't make a dish that looks like it's filled with maggots!! I managed to convince hubs to eat all the rice puffs and then I had a spoonful of the coconut sorbet and mango cream. It was actually really nice! The crispy coconut on top worked really well but I swear there was not a cat in hells chance of you getting me to eat one of them maggot things eeeeeewwww!!!
Like I said... First world problems I know! We had a lovely evening and I was glad we checked it out. The starters were good, the mains were okaaaay and the dessert tasted lovely. The service is so important to me though in this kind of establishment and so I don't think I will be back again for a while. Have you been? Did you like it? I mean the food was good, I was just a bit disappointed I guess. However, had a lovely time with hubs and I really don't want to end on a negative note sooo....
Here's a joke for ya...
WHAT DO YOU CALL A DOG THAT DOES MAGIC TRICKS?
Ah that tickled me! I hope you had a good week! Can you believe it's mid September already?? Aaaah so crazy! Autumn is coming!
Thanks so much for reading,